O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord. .
“Your own son will be your heir.”
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 15: 1—6;21: 1 -3)
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall notbe your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look towards heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm105: 1-2.3-4.5-6.8-9 (R.7a.8a)
R/. He, the Lord, is our God; He remembers his covenant forever.
Give thanks to the Lord; proclaim his name.
Make known his deeds among the peoples.
O sing to him, sing his praise;
Tell all his wonderful works! R.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.
Turn to the Lord and his strength;
constantly seek his face. R.
Remember the wonders he has done,
His marvels and his words of judgement.
O children of Abraham, his servant,
O descendants of the Jacob he chose. R.
He remembers his covenant forever:
the promise he ordained for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac. R.
The faith of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac.
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews11:8.11-12.17-19)
Brethren: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out; not knowing where he was to go. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only-begotten son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence he did receive him back and this was a symbol.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA Hebrews 1:1-2
Alleluia. In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son. Alleluia.
“The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 2:22-40)
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 2:22.39-40)
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
In Jesus, God unites himself to entire human nature and human experience. It is in the family that this human experience is more pronounced. It is here that Jesus spent a greater part of his earthly life. So this celebration offers us ample opportunity to reflect on our different responsibilities in our families and how we have been living out our call to the family life. It is from there that primary evangelization takes place. How have we been living up to this responsibility? Human nature was distorted by sin but the entrance of the divine into the human nature sanctified and reunited it back to the divine. So it is a celebration of joy and a call to cooperation with God in reuniting human nature to himself. May God help us to answer that call with promptness and devotion. Amen